Entombed by the distinctive foam pyramids typical of test chambers, the main antenna of the Gaia billion-star surveyor has been put through its paces ahead of launch next year.
The antenna will send Gaiaâ€™s precious science data to Earth from its location 1.5 million kilometres away.
Over five years, Gaia is expected to download 200 TB of data â€“ the equivalent of nearly 45 000 standard DVDs â€“ as it makes precise measurements of the positions of a billion stars.
Space Propulsion Group, Inc. (SPG) today successfully completed a major technology development test of its 22-inch-diameter, Liquid Oxygen/paraffin-based advanced hybrid rocket motor. This cutting-edge hybrid propulsion technology has practical applications for numerous space-related industries, including transportation, defense, suborbital research and tourism.
Two bowling-ball-sized free-flying satellites called Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites Zero Robotics (SPHERES ZR) are pictured during a test session in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station. ISS031-E-140672 (22 June 2012) --- high res (1.6 M) low res (91 K)
Functional Cargo Block, FGB, Zarya. The oldest part of the Station. In space since 1998. This photo was taken on May 16, 2012 by International Space Station astronaut Andre Kuipers using a Nikon D2Xs. Credit: ESA/NASA Larger image
The NASA team at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans has completed the final weld on the first space-bound Orion capsule. The Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) Orion will be shipped to the Kennedy Space Center for final assembly and checkout operations.